Business Maverick

International Finance

Oil Extends Gains as Release of Strategic Reserves Underwhelms

Crew members aboard the Marlin Shikoku crude oil tanker moored off the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The historic traffic jam at the Port of Los Angeles has eased slightly as ocean carriers face fines for letting cargo linger and "sweeper ships" arrive to haul off empty containers. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
24 Nov 2021 0

Oil edged higher as a planned coordinated release of strategic reserves by the U.S. and other nations fell short of expectations.

Futures in New York rose toward $79 a barrel after climbing 2.3% on Tuesday. The U.S. will release 50 million barrels, in concert with China, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.K. in an effort to tame prices. Much of the oil will need to be returned to the stockpile by those who buy it, however, and contributions from international partners were smaller than many had anticipated.

Focus now turns to OPEC+ and how the group will respond to the move by some of its biggest customers. The alliance said prior to the announcement that a release is unjustified by current market conditions and that they may have to reconsider plans to add more supply at a monthly meeting next week.

Oil rose Tuesday despite a coordinated release of reserves

President Joe Biden has been under pressure to tame rising energy prices that threaten to hinder the recovery from the pandemic and had called on OPEC+ to add more barrels to the market, only to be rebuffed by the alliance. A previous global effort to tap strategic stockpiles in 2011 following unrest and supply disruptions in Libya was coordinated by the International Energy Agency.

“Market attention is now firmly turned toward the OPEC+ reaction,” said Vivek Dhar, director of mining and energy commodities research at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “Even before the release of strategic oil stockpiles, global oil markets were poised to shift into surplus in coming months.”

Prices
  • West Texas Intermediate for January gained 0.5% to $78.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:48 a.m. Singapore time after climbing over 3% the past two sessions.
  • Brent for January settlement added 0.3% to $82.56 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after rising 3.3% on Tuesday.

Of the 50 million barrels, 32 million will be issued from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as an exchange over the next several months, while 18 million will come from an accelerated release from previously authorized sales, the White House said in a statement Tuesday. A senior administration official said barrels would start moving as soon as mid-to-late December.

“By releasing reserves from the SPR, fundamentally you are just diminishing that cushion that you have in the event of a real crisis,” Neil Beveridge, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a Bloomberg television interview. “It doesn’t really make a big difference physically in the market today but will probably just make things worse rather than better down the road.”

Prior to the U.S. announcement, India said it would release 5 million barrels. China didn’t disclose its contribution, but one Western official familiar with the matter said it would be in the 7 million-to-15 million barrels range. Japan plans to release about 4.2 million barrels, Nikkei reported without attribution.

South Korea said it will decide on details such as volume and timing after discussing with partner countries but indicated it could be about 3.5 million barrels. The U.K. contribution is expected to be even smaller.

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet